Harvard Business School Case Study: "TRW's Information Services Division: Strategic Human Resource Management
The Strategic human resource management process initiated by Will Sproule was a very smart initiative for the purpose of increasing the organizational effectiveness of the company. However, there were some issues that need to be addressed. As discussed in the case, when this change process was initiated, it faced several hurdles which made the achievement of objectives more difficult. There were several reasons because of which Sproule found it difficult to initiate the change process. The primary reason that creates barriers to the effective execution of the change process is that those who are going to be affected by the change are usually unwilling to cooperate because they fear that any such change may decrease their importance in the organization or they will eventually loose their jobs. Some other causes may be that the management might not be confident that whether any major change is going to benefit the organization in the long-term or it will be wastage of resources and time. In addition to this any such change also requires proper planning and effective management which is easier said than done. The Strategic Human Resource Management process focuses primarily on the development of the organizational capability to adapt to changing environmental conditions. To achieve this objective Sproule should first overcome the problems that are creating hurdles in the effective implementation of the process. This can be done by educating the employees and the top management about the benefits that such initiatives are going to bring and by ensuring them that the change process is not going to negatively affect the employees. Moreover, for the effective implementation of the SHRM process it is necessary that Sproule should create a sense of involvement among the employees i.e. he should take input from those who are going to get affected from his process. In this way there will be a higher rate of cooperation and the implementation of the process will be much easier.
The concept of SHRM is basically to focus on the pattern of planned human resource development and activities that are intended to enable the firm to accomplish its objectives. Within an organization, the primary role of SHRM is to meet the demands of the competitive environment. In case of a stable environment the achievements of such objectives is much easier as the skill requirements of the human resources are expected to remain the same. Therefore, the organization focuses on the developing its human capital with a constricted range of skills. However, in a dynamic environment, as is the case with TRW, the organization should focus on the development of a human capital with a broader range of skills so that they are able to engage in a wide variety of behavior and meet the changing demands of the environment. The Strategic Human Resource Management process should promote the concept of organizational flexibility among the employees so that the firm can easily fit in the ever changing environment. As today's organizations face increasingly dynamic environment characterized by increasing competition and change, it has become increasingly important for the firms to develop a flexible organization.
For the effective implementation of the SHRM process, it is necessary that the HRM strategy of the organization should match with the core components of an organization. It should be in line with the HRM practices of the organization because if the will be in conflict with the previous HRM practices, the process will face several barriers as is the case with Sproule. Second, it should be developed by keeping in view the skills and abilities of the existing human capital of the firm. If the strategies will be developed by just making unrealistic assumptions about the employee's skills, the process is going to suffer. In addition to this, the employees' role behavior should also be kept in mind while developing the strategies.
Every firm has its own well defined HRM practices which differ from organizations to organizations. Therefore, different strategies developed by different firms require a totally diverse role behavior from their employees. That is why it is proposed that the firm should develop its strategies and define its HRM practices on the basis of its employees' ability to perform the behaviors that are required to implement a strategy. In addition to this, the firm should also define a fit between the strategy adopted by the firm and the individual skills of the employees.